Fylde coast hockey round-up: Blackpool, Lytham St Annes, Rossall

Blackpool player of the match Kandy Cardwell
Blackpool player of the match Kandy Cardwell

Blackpool Ladies gave an outstanding display and almost pulled off a shock in Lancashire Central Division One.

They defied their second bottom league position to lead at half-time against third-placed Pendle Forest 3, who hit back to win 2-1 at Stanley Park.

Blackpool pressed from the start and Debs Hilier was outstanding in defence, pushing her side forward with excellent passes.

They were rewarded after 10 minutes with an outstanding goal by Beckie Vale.

Amy Barrow, Emma Gilfoyle and Amy Partington all combined well in midfield as Blackpool held their lead until half-time.

This determination and excellent teamwork continued throughout the second half, despite the visitors equalising from a disputed short corner.

The Pendle Forest goalkeeper was in outstanding form to prevent Blackpool from regaining the lead and her side scored a winner five minutes from time.

Kandy Cardwell was the Blackpool player of the match, with Hillier and Vale also outstanding.

In the same division, fourth-placed Rossall Ladies were 4-0 winners over bottom club Lytham St Annes 2.

Both teams had chances in the first half and it was Rossall who broke the deadlock with a close-range strike by Lucia Stefani on her 18th birthday.

Rossall’s second came from some great passing play and was neatly touched in at the left post by Sarah Urmston.

Rossall doubled their tally in the second half with two excellent Emma Williams goals.

Lytham competed well and had no shortage of chances, with Becky Evans outstanding in defence and Lauren Lockhart also in fine form.

Lytham Ladies’ senior side lost 3-0 at Ansdell Arena to Clitheroe and Blackburn Northern, who boosted their survival hopes in North division two.

The home side started well enough, with the defence communicating well and marking tightly, while the distribution down the flanks worked the ball forward pretty well.

However, errors started to creep in and Lytham gave away possession too many times, giving themselves more work to do to win the ball back.

Chances on goal went begging for both teams with the score remaining 0-0 at half-time.

After the break, Clitheroe took an early lead as they pounced on Lytham’s mistakes before another goal soon followed and Lytham were suddenly 2-0 down.

Lytham endured another frustrating moment, when it transpired that Clitheroe had two number 10s on the pitch, leading to a marking error in defence that cost them a third.

After those slip-ups, the game was fairly evenly contested with possession turned over frequently.

Lytham were very unlucky not to score with Georgia Perkins having a penalty corner strike disallowed as too high when crossing the line, and another shot that hit the post.

Lytham ladies’ thirds beat Garstang’s fourths 4-0 for a win which keeps them firmly at the top of division three.

Lytham St Annes men’s first team drew 1-1 with Brooklands.

Lytham started very strong, but they made it very difficult for themselves with a lack of finishing power.

After many a near miss they finally won a penalty corner which ended with Tom Atkinson stepping in quickly and drilling the ball into the bottom left corner.

Lytham did have to battle, perhaps not showing the same vigour as previous games but they held onto their lead.

They kept on creating chances, however, but with no sign of the ball finding the back of Brooklands’ net again.

Keeper Adam Dixon had a few shots that he cleared well, probably acquiring a good bruise from one shot, but Brooklands could not get through the Lytham defensive line.

It was in the second half that Lytham had a clear penalty corner against Brooklands denied.

In the heat of the moment Brooklands took advantage and won a penalty corner at Lytham’s end, which finally beat Dixon.

The score remained at 1-1 and Lytham had to settle for another one-pointer.

The seconds were beaten 3-0 when they travelled to Keswick.

Storm Ewan lashed Cumbria and the 10 players willing to travel, who made the two-hour journey to Cockermouth.

However, Lytham actually produced their best team performance of the last few seasons.

Despite a weak first goal the 10 man team held out against a 14-man Keswick squad for well into the second half before the next two goals were conceded when their fitness finally began to fade.

Lytham played as a unit and surprised Keswick by denying them a runaway victory.

Mike Gannon’s injuries re-emerged in the second half but his striker’s instincts wouldn’t let him rest up as he continued to chase down hopeless chances.

Goalkeeper Richard Sharpies injured his hand in the first half and is likely to be out for next week’s game.

Ryan Gill and Tom Evans never stopped running, with Will Stephens and Paul Tickner working well to push play forward.

There was also a battling performance from the thirds as they drew 2-2 against Preston’s fifths in a game where they could easily have ended up with victory.

They scored two goals in the first half to lead at the interval.

Their first came from Simon Long, who smashed home a shot after a short corner.

The second was scored by David Gee after a good movement as, although Preston were a decent side, the LSA defence was at its best.

Play was even after the break, play was even and LSA had several short corners.

However, with 10 minutes to go, Preston scored to set up a tense finish.

Just as it looked as if LSA would secure all three points Preston equallised with a couple of minutes remaining but the whole Lytham team did well under Aaron Gee’s leadership.